010: The number one mindset block that is holding you back

How’s your mindset?

Feeling good about taking action? Never pausing, never held up from fear of what might happen?

Never fail to take a step forward because you are fearless about what will come.

If this sounds like you – awesome my friend. Go take over the world.

But, for most of us… we stumble from time to time (or all the time) and fail to take action.

Half the time we might not even know that we are in our own way.

And here’s the cruncher: it is fear and a lack of self-trust and self-belief that is holding us up.


Today I’m talking about how our fears can be our own worst enemy (and why you would always be saying something completely different to your own best friend!).

Because you’ve got the tech skills down (probably more than you think). You have the know how, heck you probably have the people skills, even though the tech industry is notoriously lacking in this. So what’s holding you up – your head!

Its time to get out of your own way my my love.

Let’s dig into the self-belief mindset.

Show Notes

Useful links!

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Want to read instead of listen? Here’s the transcript:

It’s Toni from ToniCollis.com. We’re back for another episode of the Leading Women in Tech podcast. It seems like we’ve only been going for such short time, but we’re at episode 10. Woohoo. Many celebrations going on around. Actually, they might turn into kind of crazy big celebrations, I don’t know. Maybe pop some champagne, but episode 10, and I am just loving this.

So what’s been going on around here. Well, I have declared the podcast such a success that I have hired a podcast team. I’m so grateful to Kim and her team. And gosh, I just wish I’d done this from the beginning. So yeah, things are going really great around here, and I’m hoping that you are loving this podcast as much as I am. The other thing that’s going on around here is at the end of this week, Thursday, August 27th, there is a LinkedIn masterclass, which, oh my goodness me, I am prepping my heart out over this. It’s a new master class, but it is jam-packed full with the tools and techniques I have used and I now use with my clients to get them their best up levels. To get them in front of the decision-makers, the hiring managers, the recruiters. I am simply loving this. So if this sounds good to you and you want to up-level your LinkedIn presence.

And by the way, it doesn’t just apply just because you want a new job. One of the best ways to negotiate a pay rise or promotion, additional responsibilities is to get head hunted, right? So I want your LinkedIn presences standing out from the crowd. The majority of decision makers are on LinkedIn. And so you need to be up there too. Why are you not there already, if you haven’t got a LinkedIn profile. But anyway, I’m going to be digging into how to do this, and do this simply. Because it can just suck all your time, and I don’t want that for you. I know there are important things to get on with. LinkedIn is important, but that’s make this short sweet and to the point, so head on over to ToniCollis.com/leveraging-LinkedIn-masterclass. I will put that link in the show notes. Yeah, head there to register, and we will make it so that your LinkedIn profile just stands out from the crowd without all the effort and all the grind and it just works for you.

Okay. Well, let’s dig in to today’s episode, believing in yourself. This is one of my favorite topics. Self-belief is one of the things that was such a barrier to me earlier in my career. Hey, it’s still holds me up from time to time. It’s one of the reasons I have my own coach. Because yes, you can’t coach yourselves. So I have my own coach. One of the things that she calls me out on from time to time is, “Oh, there’s a belief block there.” And I feel like I’m constantly unpicking the layers. But each time I do, I get to a new level of operation, a new level of success, a new level of taking action. And each time I do up level, it becomes easier by the way. So this is work that you’ll never be done with, I think. Certainly everybody I’ve worked with so far and myself, I don’t think you were ever done on the self belief, the self-trust and getting out of your own way, but every time you do it, it gets easier to unpick the next level. Every time you up level, amazing things happen.

So let’s just talk about what I mean by believing in yourself. If you feel like, “If I just work harder, if I just work faster, if I just do more and more and more, then I’ll get ahead.” There’s kind of this perception that the only way to achieve is to do more and more, rather than believing you’re already capable of more operating at your current level. If you feel like if you just apply for enough jobs, something will pan out. If you put in a hundred applications, a thousand applications, surely you’ll get at least a 1% hit rate. Instead of trusting the process that you know will work, which is the networking, which I’ve been talking about. If you are fearing that, it’s your belief getting in your way, and you’re sticking with the status quo because it feels less scary. So much of the time we don’t take action, the right action, the action that we know will generate results, and we stick with something else that feels easier because we don’t believe in ourselves. We’re uncomfortable. We are scared of repercussions, of negative responses.

And by the way, this is something … The human brain is fascinating on the whole juxtaposition between networking your way to a job versus applying for jobs. Applying for jobs in the moment feels easier because we fear rejection of the networking. We’re like, “Well, what if they don’t want to network with me? What if they didn’t want to talk to me? What if I can’t get a conversation?” And yet that rejection is there with the job applications too. It’s just it’s further down the line. So it doesn’t feel as an immediate and it’s so uncomfortable. So again, it’s our belief getting in our way, we were just like, “What can I do that feels less scary, less vulnerable right now.”

And this is thing. Because as a leader, if you’re heading for the VPs, the senior VPs, the C suite, you need to be out there, online. You need to be on social media. You need to be on the big, bad web. You need to have an online presence. That is one of the things that executives have to have. You are a personality at that point. You’re not just the person doing the great stuff. Have a look at LinkedIn, for example, and some of the people that you admire, your role models in those senior leadership positions. I bet you they’re on LinkedIn and they’re active. They’re posting things. They might not be curating their profile really carefully. They might just be retweeting or reposting whatever their company is putting out. But I bet you that they’re doing it. Because their online presence, they know, is part of the equation.

And so if you’re not doing that, why not? I guess you might be telling yourself, “I didn’t have time for it.” But actually, if you knew it was the thing you needed to be doing, you’d make time for it, right? All of these things are a choice. We feel like we don’t have time, but if you knew this was the one thing you needed to do, you would make time for it. And so I’m telling you there’s just the one thing you need to do.


So the other reason you don’t do it is you don’t believe and you don’t trust yourself. You’re scared of putting yourself out there. You’re scared of asking for a pay rise. You’re scared of negotiating more responsibilities, even though you’re so frustrated that you don’t have a decision making position. Heck, we think the job interview is one of the most daunting things, but is it really? Here’s the thing. The biggest barrier to taking action is belief in yourself. It is the time to get out of your way, my love. So today I want to chat about what is holding you up in your mindset. So yes, this is one whole episode dedicated to the leadership mindsets. We’re not having a leadership mindset moment at the end of the episode, but it’s just one chock-full episode all on the big mindset shift you need to take to lean into taking action.

Okay. So let’s talk about some of the symptoms. Because a lot of the time, we don’t know that we’re resisting taking action. I love people who are self aware enough, who have developed the ability to go, “Oh yeah, I’m procrastinating on that.” That’s fabulous. And by the way, procrastination is often a source of, “I didn’t want to take action because it’s uncomfortable.” So if you recognize you’re procrastinating, you’re supposed to be submitting job applications, networking while you’re still scrolling through social media instead and clicking likes, I can promise you it’s because there’s some fear involved. There’s some self-belief work to be done.

But I want to talk about one of the biggest barriers I see and one of the biggest red flags I see in self-beliefs and self worth because of what I do as a coach. It’s when somebody comes and they’re thinking about working with me and then they say, “Oh gosh, it’s a lot of money,” or, “Oh gosh, I’m not sure that that’s a good thing to invest in right now.” Or, “I don’t have the money.” And initially I was like, “Okay, totally respect that. Absolutely. I don’t want people coming to me and breaking their bank account to work with me, that’s not what I’m here for.” I want to help you up level your salary as part of the work we do. And I’m all about helping the women I work with negotiate a good pay agreement, and many of them get back the money that they invest in me several times over when they negotiate a new pay offer.

But here’s the thing. So many times I’ve realized that that same person earlier on in the conversation, they’ve chosen to come and talk to me about working with me. Earlier on in the conversation, they’ve said to me something like, “It’s not about the money,” when they’re referring to their job or their frustrations or the fact that they want a promotion or the fact they want a new job. “It’s not about the money,” or, “I don’t need the pay rise, I’ve got enough money.” And I’ve also seen people decide not to work with me, totally their call. And then I find out that they’ve booked a fancy holiday or they’ve bought a new car. Again, totally their choice.

But when you see many of those, you start realizing something. They want to work with you, they keep good communication with you, they keep saying, “I’m going to come to you one day.” So it’s not that they didn’t want to work with me. Here’s what’s going on. Here’s what’s underneath all that. They don’t believe they’re worth investing in. They don’t trust themselves. They would 100% support their partner, their kids, their siblings, their parents, their friends in investing in something like this. But when it comes to themselves, they don’t believe they’re worth investing in. And it’s that same mindset which is saying, “I don’t need to ask for more money. That’s not the issue.” Or, “I can’t ask for more responsibilities.” It’s that same mindset. It’s the self-belief, self-trust, self-worth peace that means that we are getting in our very way.

I want you to know, I used to be one of these women. I used to say, “It’s not about money.” It was actually. If I’m brutally honest with myself, sometimes it was about the money. And it wasn’t that the money was a big financial blocker. Yes. The more money is totally lovely for up leveling my life. I have totally got over the issue of money. But I’m going to talk about that in a minute actually, money being bad, because I think society conditions us on that a little bit. But I used to definitely feel like, “It’s not about the money. It’s not about the pay rise.” But what it was was I was using that as an excuse to not ask for something. I was frustrated. I wanted more responsibilities. I wanted people to take me seriously, but I fixated on the fact it wasn’t the money. And I used that as an excuse to not take action. And it held me up for at least a year.

Now, if you’ve been around here long enough, you know I got to the C suite in seven years, I in hindsight could have done that in about four. I actually, once I really went all in, I did it in two. The first five I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I did use experience from those five years. I was lucky that I accidentally got some really great experience that helped me get to the C suite in seven years, but I could have done it a whole lot faster. I say the same thing about my PhD, I think most people do. I could do my PhD in six months. It took me four years. You know, hindsight’s a wonderful thing. Learning is a wonderful thing. I am here to shortcut this for you, my loves. I’m not saying you should do a PhD in six months. That would kind of be crazy. I think there are some learning curves, but I definitely want you to short cut this.

And part of the shortcut is getting out of your own way and having belief in yourself. Whether it is learning to invest in yourself. And I think so many of us women, we’ve never really invested in ourselves, except when we’re pushed into a corner. We probably invested in college because it was expected, right? If that’s you, you just went to college, everybody else did and you didn’t really think about the money side of it other than, “Oh my goodness me. That’s a lot of debt.” That’s an expected investment. When was the last time that you’ve invested in you? I have clients come to work with me who have children who are going to really great schools that they’re paying for. And yet they don’t even invest in nice suits for themselves for a job interview. Right? I get that investing in your children is so important, but what if investing in yourself meant that there was more possibilities for your children coming forwards.

So it’s time to talk about believing in yourself, whether it is investing. I’m just talking about that because of that symptom that I’ve seen in new clients, but actually it’s all tied up with taking action, being fearless, negotiating for more responsibilities, negotiating for empowering opportunities and taking that action.

And this plays out in the way we turn up with other self worth activities. The way we job hunt. If we don’t feel fearless, if we don’t trust ourselves, we take the easy options. We just apply for jobs because it feels easier in the moment. And the rejection is down the line. And we think, well, I can just reuse my resume. It’s not that hard. It basically, especially right now in the very few jobs that are advertised are just so inundated with resumes. The traditional job hunt method doesn’t work. So why are you doing it? Because it’s more comfortable than taking the uncomfortable action of networking that requires you to believe in what you’re doing and what you’re saying. Putting yourself out there on the internet. Developing your online presence. Developing your connections. Having really candid, thought provoking, inspiring conversations with people and building genuine connections and friendships, and using that to get a job. Because that initial step of putting yourself out there is so uncomfortable. It requires self worth.

And it plays out in the way we do job interviews. I have seen some amazing people mess up in job interviews because they don’t believe in themselves and they just clam up and they won’t take ownership of something that they have been responsible for. Again, your self worth. And self worth plays out big time in the way we negotiate for a salary, a pay rise or more responsibilities.

The money piece is really big one. I think there’s so much tied in with the money piece. We think that money is a bad thing. That people that are rich are somehow evil. Can I just pull this one out from under the table for a minute? Can I just say it’s not about the money, it’s about the people, right? Some people are just not nice and whatever resources they have, they will not be nice people. Money isn’t the thing that’s evil. Money can do fabulous things. It can do great things for you and your family. It can, if you believe in investing in other programs, it can develop charitable operations that change the world for the better. You can help the homeless, you can invest in vaccine programs, you can do all sorts of things. They require money because money enables other people to do work, enables us to develop things, enables us to research. Money isn’t evil. And yet when we’re negotiating for a salary or a pay rise, we immediately go, “Oh gosh, I’m a bad person if I want this.” And I just have to ask you why?


I’ve even seen somebody advising on social media, and this really just got to me, when somebody said, “Oh, you know, how do I negotiate? What should I negotiate for?” And the advice that somebody else gave was, “Well, if you’re earning enough to cover your bills, that’s enough.” And I’m like, “Oh no it’s not,” because … We’ve come full circle to one of the things I used to focus on with negotiation and then I realized it’s much more than this. But here’s the thing about salaries, it’s not just about what you want, what you could do with the money. Well, it’s the respect you get. I really don’t like this about humans that, “Hey-ho, it is what it is. Your boss knows how much you earn, right?” At least somebody in that organization you work in, even if it’s one of these big, huge corporate organizations, people know how much you earn, maybe not your colleagues, but people know. And they tie the level of respect they give you with how much you are. I am not kidding. It is so sad. It breaks my heart, but it is reality.

So if you under negotiate, if you’re like, “Well, that’s just all I need,” I can promise you, you are going to find it harder to get taken seriously. And I’m here to help you get taken seriously. That is a huge part of the mission of the Leading Women in Tech podcast, is to get you that decision making space, the seat at the table, the place where you’re taken seriously, because I know how frustrating it is to have these ideas and see this slow car crash happening ahead of you. And you’re just like, “Oh my gosh, if you would just listen to me, we could totally avoid that.” I have been there and it is so frustrating. And I’m here to help you get to that decision making space, where you can help the people that you see making mistakes, avoid those mistakes and do great things instead. To get that decision making table place, you need to be taken seriously. And one part of that equation is your responsibilities and the pay packet that goes with it.

So money isn’t evil or bad, and our money mindset is often a huge reflection of our self worth piece. So, although this is really about self belief and self worth, the money piece is a really good way of understanding how much self belief you have. If you’ve ever said, “I can’t invest in myself because …” If you’ve ever said, “I don’t believe I’m worth this,” or if you’ve ever gone, “Oh gosh, I just, no, I can’t ask for that.” Or you’ve ever offered it at an immediate discount, if you’ve put a number and then gone, “Oh, but I can go lower,” we have money mindset work, which is all underpinned by your self belief and your self worth.

Okay. Let’s go back to belief in ourselves, our contributions, our worth, and that you’re worth something at the table. So much of the time, belief in ourselves, our contributions, or worth, plays out in some interesting ways. Have you ever said, “Hell yes, I can do this. I get it. I’m so frustrated that nobody else is doing it.” And then when it comes to actually stepping up and doing the thing, you pause. You get nervous. You hold up and you clam up and you don’t take action. And then you get frustrated at not being taken seriously. But you’re baring yourself in the corner of the meeting room. You’re not putting your hands up. If that’s you, I want you to know this is kind of normal. We’ve all been there. This juxtaposition of “I can do this” and then not stepping up because of fear.

It’s time to talk about being fearless and fearlessness in general. I love talking about fearlessness. A lot of people talk about confidence. And the thing about confidence that everybody misses or fails to tell you is the confidence is one of those really annoying things that shows up afterwards. We need to tap into fearlessness to take action. Confidence might miraculously come. I can’t give you a hundred affirmations that you can write. I can build your confidence a little bit by doing that. But the real way to build confidence is to take action and to do that, you need to lean into fearlessness. And fearlessness requires self-trust, self-belief.

Oh, yeah. See? See, you need fearlessness, right. You need self trust, self belief to take fearless action to get your confidence, which then up levels you. It’s one of those lovely cyclical things. See, I love cycles. Because every time we take positive action, we up level a little bit, and then we can do the cycle again. It plays out in so many ways. Baby steps, every single day gives you an upward spiral. Baby steps downwards give you a downward spiral by the way.


Anyway, let’s come back to developing this fearlessness. Well, it comes from internal validation and trust, instead of external validation. So many of us, we only feel good when somebody else is saying, “Good job. You did great there.” Or< “You got a gold star,” metaphorically because when was the last time you got a gold star. That just makes me think I need to buy some gold stars and put them on my walls, give you all a gold star. But external validation is the thing that we’re most used to receiving. It’s the thing we’re primed for, especially as women, we get those, “Oh, well done, you did so good. You made everybody happy,” when we’re little, and we’re primed into only feeling that we’re worth doing something or that we’re a good person or that we’re worthy of anything when we have that external validation. When somebody else pats on the back.

And here’s the truth about stepping up, for any of you beginning to step up into your leadership, you know this is coming. The higher up you go, the less external validation you’ll get. A lot of the time, the only comeback you get is the negatives. You get a less and less positive feedback and more and more negative feedback as you rise up. Something I want to change, don’t get me wrong, but it is the reality of senior leadership.

So we need to fix external validation. It’s not healthy for starters, but it becomes impossible to operate at senior levels and it contributes to burnout. In fact, it’s probably the number one reason for burnout, is when we are relying on external validation and we’re not getting it. Here’s the thing we need to develop our internal validation and self-trust, we need to trust that we have it. We need to believe in ourselves. One of my clients shared a segment from a book with me and I just wanted to read this outtake. It’s from a book by David Viscott, I don’t know if that’s how you say that name. And it’s called Finding Your Strength in Difficult Times. And I just, I love it. So here we go.

“Trust yourself. Everything starts with trusting yourself. If you don’t trust yourself, who should? If you don’t trust yourself, whose support will make any difference? Trust that your idea is good. Trust that your feeling is real. Trust that your judgment is correct. Trust that you want what you want. Trust that what makes you happy, makes you happy. Life is not supposed to be complicated, a long drawn out debate about its meaning and how you fit into the scheme of things. You are the scheme of things. You are life. Your doubt removes you from yourself. Trusting yourself doesn’t mean that you’re always going to be right. It allows you to overcome your doubt and correct your mistakes. Trusting yourself doesn’t mean that you’re perfect, but that you are perfectly willing to be human. All the good that you intend, needs your trust to energize it and make it come to pass. Without trust your dreams languish, and soon hope itself dies. You can doubt anything you want, but for the moment, trust yourself and fill your life.”

Oh my God. I just love that. It just epitomizes part of the problem with us requiring that trust to come from outside ourselves. So if that resonated with you, especially, “without trust your dreams languish, and soon hope itself dies.” Does that resonate? It totally resonates with me, because this is the thing we have to develop. I just love it so much.

So I would love this week for you to start trusting yourself. I want to start baby steps. I want you to lean into fearless, to build some confidence, to build some trust. Remember, it’s a cycle realizing that when you make decisions, many of them will be good. Some will be bad, but not always. I want you to trust that you will learn from bad results and repeat. So take action. Trust that what you’re going to do is from a well-informed place. You might not make the right decision, but even if it’s not the right decision, you’re going to learn from it. Trust that you’re worth investing in. Trust that you’re worth more money. Trust that you are worth listening to. Yes, that seat at the decision making table can be yours. Trust that you’ve got this.

And, as this was one big mindset moment episode this week, instead of finishing off with a leadership mindset moment, I’m going to finish off with an action for you to take. I want you to take one action this week that you have been resisting. Look what you thought, “that would be nice … But.” What did you do a but on? What did you procrastinate over? Assess if that but is really valid. Side note, so much of the time, it really isn’t. And instead I want you to go all in. Yes, I did just click my fingers. I want you to trust that you have what it takes to do that thing. Purchase that item, invest in yourself, ask for that responsibility, ask for that pay rise. Whatever it is, lean in and trust and take one action this week. Does that sound good? I hope it does.

Maybe the action, by the way, is turning up for the Leveraging LinkedIn masterclass taking place on Thursday, the 27th. So if you’re listening to this, the day this drops, on Tuesday, go and register. Remember that the LinkedIn masterclass will uncover the seven massive myths about job hunting on LinkedIn that are holding you back. The three ways to use LinkedIn to generate job offers while you sleep so you don’t have to show up all the time. And if you want to use LinkedIn to get a new opportunity or to leverage offers to up level in your current organization, you need to be at this free masterclass. If you’ve been procrastinating because you’re scheduled it wrong, I’m going to unpick this. So trust yourself to come to this masterclass and listen what it’s all about.

If you are terrified of wasting time with something that won’t work and you’re too busy, you can’t afford to waste any more time building another social profile and online presence, I can guarantee you this math class is going to unpick all this because I’m going to show you how to create a profile that makes you stand out. That gets you to the top of these searches, that gets you more profile visits that, gets you more recruiters interested. I don’t want you to sit back. I want you to make things happen. So if you do anything, go register for that masterclass, ToniCollis.com/leveraging-LinkedIn-masterclass. The link will be in the show notes.

That’s all for today’s episode. If you want to check out all the show notes, the links I mentioned, do head to your podcast player or to ToniCollis.com/episode10. If you love this, please do share today’s podcast with anyone that you think would be interested. And don’t forget that if you’re ready to up level your career, check out that LinkedIn masterclass. Until next time, remember to stay on your tech leadership game, follow your dreams because the world really does need that uniqueness that you bring as a leading woman.

Thank you for listening to

Leading Women in Tech podcast

If you loved what you heard today, it would make my day if you could spare a minute to leave a review on iTunes. And because I value your time so much, each month one lucky reviewer will win a FREE Success Coaching session with yours truly.

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